Big Second Half Lifts GSW to Victory in Opener

Big Second Half Lifts GSW to Victory in Opener

ALBANY, Ga. -- Sparked by 52 second half points, the Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball team pulled away from Albany State University for an 81-72 season-opening win at the West Campus Arena Wednesday evening.

How It Happened: GSW pounced on the Golden Rams early, jumping out to a 13-3 lead in the opening 5 1/2 minutes, but four Hurricane turnovers during that stretch kept the hosts within striking distance. It took Albany State (0-3) most of the first half to catch up, but with 4:51 left before the break, a jumper from Jonathan Henderson evened the score at 21-21. The Golden Rams never led by more than a basket and took that advantage into the break, 31-29.

R.J. Sessions accounted for six points on GSW's first two possessions of the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers, the second of which ignited a 15-0 run, and the Hurricanes never trailed again. A free throw by Jimmy Sylvain with 7:25 to play gave GSW its largest lead of the night, 64-49.

Albany State managed to pull within five points with two minutes remaining, but a pair of layups with the shot clock nearing zero from Quenten Taylor and converted trips to the line by Andre Statam and Sessions sealed the victory.

The Hurricanes drained 7 of 12 attempts from long range (58.3 percent) in the second half. After turning the ball over eight times in the opening session, GSW settled in over the final 20 minutes and finished with 10 turnovers. 

Who Stood Out: Sessions not only led all scorers with 30 points, but pulled down a game-high eight rebounds as well. He was a sizzling 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in the second half and accounted for 21 of the Hurricanes 52 points over the final 20 minutes. Statam finished with 20 points while connecting on all seven of his free throw attempts. Statam and Devin Watson led GSW with four assists apiece.

Up Next: The Hurricanes return to Americus for their home opener on Tuesday against Fort Valley State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.